In his year and almost 10 months as the head of football operations for the Redskins, Mike Shanahan has not admitted to doing things wrong very often. But he has done just that twice in a span of five days.During his Wednesday news conference after the benching of Rex Grossman and the elevation of John Beck to the starting quarterback job, he was asked about the decision to trade for Donovan McNabb last year."We brought him McNabb in here to see if it would work out, Shanahan said. It didnt work out.Although the fact that the McNabb trade was a major blunder -- costing the Redskins not only a second-round draft pick, but also a year of potential development for a quarterback of the future -- isn't a revelation, the fact that Shanahan admitted the obvious was noteworthy.Fast forward to yesterday. After the Redskins 33-20 loss to the Panthers, Shanahan questioned how he prepared the team.Ive got to do a better job of getting these guys ready to play, he said. We shouldve played better than that.The question unasked at the time was: What exactly did he mean by that? He did say that he thought they had a good week of practice. Does he think they need to be better prepared mentally?After the Eagles loss, some defensive players such as LaRon Landry said that the defense came out flat in that game. That was hard to understand, given that they were coming off a bye with a chance to bury the Philadelphia dream teams season.Against the Panthers, the defensive effort was better in the first half, although Cam Newton seemed to deflate the D some after his weaving, 25-yard run to convert a third-and-nine on Carolinas third offensive play.Offensively, the Redskins were game but predictable. Plays were obvious by the personnel in the game and the formations. If I can tell what is coming from the press box, you have to think the Carolina defensive coaches could get the probable play down to the field via the headset if the players had not figured it out already.Perhaps Shanahan thinks he and his coaches need to do a better job of schooling the players in details and fundamentals. Fred Davis was at least partially responsible for one if not two of Rex Grossmans interceptions due to his failure to execute some of the nuances of catching passes.Just before halftime yesterday, Jabar Gaffney had a long pass knocked away when it looked like he could have made the catch if he had attacked the ball. Then, on the next play, he allowed the ball to get punched away by a player in front of him.Certainly, there were other sins of commission and omission by the Redskins that were not so obvious to the television cameras.In any case, whatever Shanahan needs to do to get his team to play better, he needs to do it soon. What was a promising season is quickly slipping away, if it hasnt already.
What does Shanahan need to do better?
October 24, 2011, 5:25 pm